If you have filed a claim for disability benefits with the social security administration, you may find it necessary at some point to obtain representation. Prior to doing so, however, you’ll probably have several questions about what representation implies.
When should you get a representative for your social security disability or SSI claim? In actuality,Guest Posting most individuals do not need the help of a disability lawyer or a non-attorney claimant’s representative until they have received a denial of their initial disability claim. However, there are some disability lawyers and representatives who take disability claims at the initial disability claim level as well as following the issuance of a denial notice.
If you have obtained the services of a disability lawyer at the initial disability claim level, your representative will most likely have you file your disability claim with Social Security. Once you have filed your claim they will send in their representation paperwork (which will include a fee agreement) so that they will be notified if Social Security needs more information or your disability claim is denied.
There is potentially a disadvantage in hiring a disability lawyer at this level. And that is if your disability claim is approved at the application level the lawyer will probably have done little on your case. Despite this, however, you will still owe their representation fee. Actually, prior to a hearing many disability lawyers do fairly little other than file your appeal paperwork for your reconsideration after your initial disability claim is denied, and once again they will receive their full representation fee at this level as well.
So, you should consider a couple of things prior to hiring a representative if your claim is pending at one of these disability levels: Can you fill out your own appeal paperwork, respond to the needs of the disability examiner (return questionnaires etc) and can you file your appeal timely (sixty five days from the date of the denial letter). If you can do these things it is unlikely you will need the services of a disability lawyer or representative until your administrative law judge hearing.
Since I have mentioned Social Security representation fees, I should clarify what might be involved as far a payment for disability representation. Disability lawyers or non-attorney representatives are entitled to one fourth of any back payment up to $6000.00 (this is the limit as of June 22, 2009, this limit can be raised periodically by Social Security).
Representatives are also entitled to make a claim for incidental fees such as paying for medical records, travel, copying etc. The important thing to remember is that once you sign a fee agreement with a representative you are obligated to pay the fee agreement. This is a binding contract between you and your representative.
Is there a benchmark for when you should definitely get representation? If your reconsideration appeal is denied, it is advisable that you obtain the services of a Social Security disability lawyer or representative (non-attorney representative) to file your request for an administrative law judge hearing.
Once you have obtained the services of a disability representative, they will file all of your paperwork, gather medical record updates, and represent you at your hearing.
Generally, it is a wise decision to have someone who is familiar with the guidelines and regulations of Social Security disability to present your disability claim to an administrative law judge. Statistical information suggests that disability claimants who have representation at their administrative law judge hearing are about twenty percent more likely to be approved for disability than those who chose to represent themselves.
Additionally, since you are most likely to win your Social Security disability benefits at an administrative law judge hearing, it does not hurt to have someone who knows Social Security disability law to present your case.